Review: H. Upmann 1844 Reserve Special Edition
At the 2013 IPCPR trade show and convention, Altadis USA showed off a slew of new products, including some limited editions. One of them was for the brand H. Upmann in the popular 6 x 60 Magnum size.
The H. Upmann 1844 Reserve Special Edition caught my eye at a local shop a few days ago, largely because of the packaging which seems rather reminiscent of some of the packaging the company has used on the special editions for Montecristo. Each of the 6 x 60 cigars comes without cellophane placed individually in the high-gloss box.
Patrick Lagreid and Brooks Whittington took this picture at the trade show:
As for the cigar itself it uses Nicaraguan fillers and binder underneath an Ecuadorian Cubano wrapper. It comes only in the 6 x 60 size and is limited to 4,000 boxes of 10, each carry an MSRP of $100.
And the particulars.
Cigar Reviewed: H. Upmann 1844 Reserve Special Edition
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera de García
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Cubano
Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
Size: 6 Inches
Ring Gauge: 60
MSRP: $10.00 (Boxes of 10, $100.00)
Date Released: September 2012
Number of Cigars Released: 4,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
While it may not be the most complex of looks, I actually like what Altadis did with the bands. The high gloss nature pairs well with the box and the slightly red wrapper itself, not overly gaudy, but definitely a fancier version of the typical domestic Upmann bands. The aroma isn’t overly strong, some slightly woodsiness and fruitiness, I definitely think the lack of cellophane and open box contributed to its demise, but the cold draw is pleasant with a soft fruitiness and some touches of spice.
There’s a pleasant chalky sweetness and some mild berries to open the first few seconds of the giant Upmann, and then a thud. An unpleasant mixture of sourness and harshness quickly engulfs the palate. My only advice to get around is that v-cutting the cigar seemed to greatly reduce the impact it had, but it was still there. Eventually things get better, a muddled profile sees orange peel up front, a harsh woodsiness and some pepper down the throat. Smoke production and draw are both great, but each sample I had cracked towards the latter half of the first third. One was an inch or so crack, the other you can see below.
Oddly, the cigar with the gigantic crack faired better in the second third than the ones without. The Upmann Special Edition gets smoother and some creaminess while the harshness disappears. There’s still a generic woodsiness up front and a simple cedar on the finish, both at the medium marks, but there’s some obvious draw and burn issues. Strength is on the lighter side of medium, a step up from most H. Upmann 1844s I’ve had, but not a huge one.
The final third is the shining light, if you can call it that. There’s a sweet creaminess that sits on top of the profile from the second third, but unfortunately that’s the only change. It’s not complex, it’s not particularly detailed and it’s not particularly good. The burn and construction actually work themselves out and I’m able to get fairly far down the cigar without much issue, other than the aforementioned ones.
- These are some great boxes. Not only do they look good, but the ribbon that Altadis put in the box is highly functional, just tug the ribbon and the cigars come out cleanly.
- Here’s the picture of the aforementioned crack:
- For those wondering, the cigar wasn’t dry. If anything it was a bit soft.
- I’m pretty sure if the band was off, the crack would have kept going.
- Of all the Altadis regular production products, the H. Upmann 1844 is actually my favorite.
- Final smoking time was two hours and fives minutes.
- Site sponsors Best Cigar Prices, Famous Smoke Shop and Mike’s Cigars all have the H. Upmann 1844 Reserve Special Edition in stock.
The Bottom Line: If you talk to someone who really knows about Davidoff, and its Dominican production operation, you’ll hear a name, Eladio Díaz, Davidoff’s master blender. He’s not the face of the operation, but he’s one of the most important blenders in the world and in addition to his work at Davidoff, he makes cigars for himself and for his friends. They aren’t sold, there’s only a few thousand cigars made annually and they are given out to a small enough circle that they remain one of two or three entries on my holy grail list. The cigars are also anything but Davidoff. They are almost universally described as full-body, full flavor and yes, full strength. And it’s with that I wonder what the blenders at Altadis, the world’s largest premium cigar company, smoke—because it surely is not this, it just can’t be. The H. Upmann Special Edition Magnum was not unsmokeable; it was however a complete waste of time and money, except for you—the reader—who at this point should understand that I wouldn’t recommend smoking this cigar, regardless of if you paid for it. Blending isn’t easy and taste is subjective, but if this is the best you can do with what is inevitably the world’s largest supply of premium cigar tobacco, I will be anything but impressed; thus the following score.
Final Score: 61